Sheriff's office releases report on deputy's death

(WKTV)- A year and eight months after a panel of four law enforcement professionals began researching and writing the after action report regarding the fatal shooting in June of 2011 of Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman, the report was made public.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Department released the full, roughly 65-page report online on their website 8:30 Friday morning. They held a news conference Friday afternoon during which they revealed for the first time the identity of the four independent law enforcement professionals who closely examined the barricaded suspect situation that lead to Deputy Wyman's death and wrote the in-depth report.

They are the Glenville, Skaneatles and Cicero police chiefs and Utica Police Captain James Watson.
Deputy Wyman's father, Brian Wyman, sat at the panel with the sheriff and three of the four authors of the report during the news conference. Wyman says he's grateful that he and his family had the oppportunity to read the report before it was released to the public Friday morning, and to meet and speak in-depth with three of the four authors.

"In my viewpoint the importance of this report is hopefully that it goes statewide and national wide and is a family we're...I don't want to say we're satisfied. But it was a ....It was a good report," said Wyman.

"Certainly first and foremost to the famly of deputy Wyman, but to the members of the sheriff's office and future members of law enforcement I think it's our obligation any time something tragic happens that we look at the incident and scrutinize the incident," said Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol.

The report found that Deputy Wyman is dead principally for two reasons: first and foremost, because stand-off suspect Christian Patterson refused countless lawful orders of numerous deputies and negotiators, including Deputy Wyman, to drop his weapon and surrender.

Secondly, the report finds, that Deputy Wyman heroically and tragically placed the safety and well-being of Christian Patterson ahead of his own and left a position of relative cover and exposed himself in an attempt to use a less lethal device on Patterson, hoping to end the incident with minimal or no injury to Patterson.

The review committee concluded that several changes or enhancements to department policy are needed. Among them, a clearly-established command relationship between multiple emergency response teams at situations like the one of June 6 into June 7 of 2011. 

The report also finds that the sheriff's department should adopt a policy pertaining to barricaded suspects which would include a designation of life priority. For example: hostages, then innocent involved civilians, police officers and finally-suspects or subjects.

The report also concluded that additional training is needed for certain emergency response team members, including snipers.  One officer who operated a 40mm less than lethal projectile launcher the night of the incident couldn't remember the last time he trained with the weapon.

Glenville Police Chief and committee member Michael Ranalli reminded those in attendance Friday that, while adequate training and equipment are crucial to officer safety, situations like the stand-off that lead to Deputy Wyman's death are shaped by split-second decisions forced by the unpredictable actions of unstable suspects.

"First off, we are human beings. We put uniforms on and we have badges and everything but we're still human beings and that doesn't change. You can train only to a point for all the myriad of things that we are expected to do."

Sheriff Maciol assured the Wyman family and his department that the report's life doesn't end today in Oriskany, but rather, begins.

"Here in this agency I can assure everyone that this document will not be just laid on a desk somewhere. This is going to be at the forefront of everything we do."

To read the full report, click here.

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